MPhil and PhD Programs in
Atmospheric Environmental Science (AES)

  • For the most updated PG course descriptions, please visit here .
  • Courses listed here will be offered based on resources available in each term and year. Details about course offerings in a particular term will be announced at course registration time.

Core Course

ENVR 5310 Atmospheric Dynamics [3 credit(s)]

Previous Course Code(s): ENVR 6040G

The study of atmospheric motions is essential for a better understanding of the relevant meteorological phenomena. This course introduces the conservation laws for primitive equations and classical concepts in fluid dynamics, which will allow students to gain physical insight into the fundamental nature of atmospheric motions. This course is suitable for students who require the foundation of fluid dynamics for advanced study in meteorology, oceanography, atmospheric and climate sciences.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Apply the basic concepts of fluid dynamics and key variables describing the structure and motion of atmosphere.
  • Formulate the primitive equations and perform their simplifications.
  • Define circulation and vorticity, and their relationship.
  • Describe dynamical structure of the flow in the planetary boundary layer.
  • Describe the quasi-geostrophic theory to depict and explain the mid-latitude synoptic-scale motions.
  • Interpret the observed characteristics of large-scale atmospheric motions with fundamental principles.

ENVR 5410 Atmospheric Chemistry [3 credit(s)]

Co-list with: CHEM 5410

Exclusion(s): CHEM 5410

Background: Basic knowledge of physical chemistry

A fundamental introduction to the physical and chemical processes determining the composition of the atmosphere and its implications for climate, ecosystems, and human welfare. Atmospheric transport and transformation. Stratospheric ozone. Oxidizing power of the atmosphere. Regional air pollution: aerosols, smog, and acid rain. Nitrogen, oxygen, carbon, sulfur geochemical cycles. Climate and the greenhouse effect.


Elective Courses

CIVL 4470 Air Quality Control and Management [3 credit(s)]

Historical and health impact studies related to air pollution. Atmospheric stability and its impact on the transport and dispersion of pollutants. Sources of major air pollutants. Comparison of urban, industrial and transport related air pollution issues, using Hong Kong and Pearl River Delta as examples. Control of stationary and mobile emission sources. Air quality management - framework, policy tools and comparison of different approaches.

ENVR 5320 Environmental Data Analysis [3 credit(s)]

Background: Fundamental knowledge of the statistic concepts and experience in using at least one data analysis tool such as excel, python or Matlaby

This course is designed for students at the start of their postgraduate studies. The course will provide students with knowledge in understanding and using statistical methods in environmental science and applications. Probability distributions, parametric tests of significance against non-parametric tests, Monte Carlo methods, Principal Component Analysis, etc. will be taught in the course facilitated by extensive use of real world problems as example.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the concepts of basic statistical methods.
  • Use probability distributions, parametric tests, non-parametric tests and Monte Carlo methods to analyze environmental database and solve environmental problems creatively.
  • Use Principal Component Analysis, and correlation methods to analyze environmental datasets and discover the linkage between the data results and with environmental problems.
  • Solve the real world environmental problems using statistical tools independently and creatively.

ENVR 5330 Environmental Geographical Information System [3 credit(s)]

Exclusion(s): EVSM 5240

This course will cover a broad spectrum of concepts and practices in Geographical Information System (GIS). It starts with the fundamental concepts and elements in geographic science and technology. Spatial data modeling and integration methods will then be discussed followed by various geospatial analysis approaches for both vector and raster data. Cartographic principles, spatial relationships, projection and coordinate systems will be discussed in-depth. During the course, students will be introduced to contemporary GIS software and apply GIS technology support local and regional environmental planning and management.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Manage spatial data, including images from satellites and field data.
  • Interpret spatial model data such as wind and temperature in Hong Kong.
  • Analyze situations to incorporate environmental considerations into socioeconomic development.
  • Formulate solutions to environmental problems by integrating and applying geospatial technologies.
  • Apply GIS theory to effective resource management, environmental policy formation and decision making.

ENVR 5340 Fundamentals of Sustainability Science and Technology [3 credit(s)]

Previous Course Code(s): ENVR 6040J

Background: Some engineering knowledge will be a plus while not a specific requirement.

The course is intended to link the interaction between the human and natural environment, focusing on how the anthropogenic activities have altered the natural environment and provide an overview on the emerging science and technology of sustainability. The course will identify the impacts associated with resource consumption and environmental pollution, and present the quantitative tools necessary for assessing environmental impacts and design for sustainability. At the end of the course, the students should be cognizant of the concept of sustainability, the metrics of sustainability and be able to use the principles of sustainable engineering in their respective field of practice.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe and explain social, environmental, and ecological indicators of Sustainability.
  • Identify grand challenges for sustainability and discuss emerging solutions for these challenges.
  • Define and explain the principles of sustainable engineering and make links to their respective field of practice.
  • Apply a life-cycle thinking in design for environment and conduct life cycle analysis to assess the environmental impacts of different products, processes and systems.
  • Work effectively in a team and interpret the project‘s contribution to sustainability improvement.

ENVR 5350 Climate Dynamics[3 credit(s)]

Background: Fundamental knowledge of (geophysical) fluid dynamics is recommended.

This course covers the dynamics of the atmosphere and ocean and the coupled dynamics, which govern our weather and climate. The course will introduce the essential features of the atmosphere and ocean circulation, as well as theories about instabilities in geophysical fluids. Knowledge and skills for running weather and climate models and analyzing data are also practiced in the course.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe basic structures of the atmospheric and oceanic circulation.
  • Explain known mechanisms governing the variability of the climate.
  • Conduct further research related to climate variability.
  • Present their research/practice results to experts and general audience.

ENVR 5390 Satellite Remote Sensing and Informatics [3 Credit(s)]

Satellite remote sensing technique measures geophysical parameters from the electromagnetic energy emitted or reflected from the earth, and can be used to estimate earth surface characteristics, atmospheric compositions and profiles, and meteorological processes. This course provides a brief overview of the fundamental essentials to understand the remote sensing process, satellite data products, and their applications in atmosphere, land, and ocean.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the algorithm and process used by satellite remote sensing to measure the physical properties of distant objects.
  • Compare and contrast the most common sensors and techniques for satellite remote sensing.
  • Explain basic electromagnetic concepts and applications to optical sensors.
  • Define and exemplify the principles of applications in atmosphere, land, and ocean.
  • Access satellite remote sensing products from online data archives.
  • Apply data products for spatial and temporal variation analysis on parameters, compositions, and profiles of atmosphere, land, and ocean.

ENVR 6040 Special Topics in Environmental Science [1-4 credit(s)]

Offerings are announced each term, if deemed necessary, to cover emerging topics in environmental science not covered in the present curriculum.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify the latest development in the technologies or management strategies on the topic concerned.
  • Integrate with the status quo knowledge/practices on the topic/subject.
  • Project the near-future trend of development concerned.
  • Anticipate the research/business/in-field opportunities on the topic/subject.

EVSM 5280 Introduction to Atmospheric Aerosols [3 credit(s)]

Atmospheric aerosols, also known as, airborne particulate matter, are important air pollutants affecting our health, visibility, and global climate change. This course aims to provide a survey of the physical and chemical properties, the source identification, the atmospheric transformation, the sampling of atmospheric aerosols, and the determination of their chemical compositions.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the air pollution problem, in particular that in Hong Kong and PRD, and the main contributing factors.
  • Explain and use the basic concepts and terminology in atmospheric aerosols and particulate matter for communication and discussion.
  • Identify the common aerosol parameters and atmospheric processes governing the changes of atmospheric aerosols.
  • Apply the concepts and knowledge to analyze aerosol related air pollution issues.
  • Work in a team to analyze and comment on an aerosols-related air pollution issue, like those reported in scientific papers, and present and communicate the findings to a group of audience.

EVSM 6070 Environmental Impact Assessment [4 credit(s)]

Previous Course Code(s): EVSM 607, ENVR 607, AMCE 607

Exclusion(s): ENVS 5116

Introduction to environmental impact assessment (EIA) and the EIA process in Hong Kong. The components of an EIA report including air, noise, water, waste management, environmental risk, ecological impact, and socio-economic impact assessments will be analyzed. Environmental law, environmental management and the importance of public participation will also be discussed. Case studies from Hong Kong will be used and comparison with EIA in Mainland China will be made.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Critically examine a broad range of environmental impacts in the EIA processes.
  • Identify the complex interactions among the various key components in the assessment processes.
  • Develop analytical and presentation skills to locate and evaluate the interactive dynamics between environment and scientific principles.

MATH 5311 Advanced Numerical Methods I [3 credit(s)]

Previous Course Code(s): MATH 531

Numerical solution of differential equations, finite difference method, finite element methods, spectral methods and boundary integral methods. Basic theory of convergence, stability and error estimates.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Recognize and use appropriately numerical techniques in computation.
  • Develop numerical scheme to discretize partial differential equations.
  • Apply numerical analysis to examine the consistency, stability and convergence of the numerical methods.
  • Apply appropriate numerical schemes to solve real and hypothetical problems.

MATH 5350 Computational Fluid Dynamics for Inviscid Flows [3 credit(s)]

Previous Course Code(s): MATH 535

Derivation of the Navier-Strokes equations; the Euler equations; Lagriangian vs. Eulerian methods of description; nonlinear hyperbolic conservation laws; characteristics and Riemann invariants; classification of discontinuity; weak solutions and entropy condition; Riemann problem; CFL condition; Godunov method; artificial dissipation; TVD methods; and random choice method.

MATH 5351 Mathematical Methods in Science and Engineering I [3 credit(s)]

Previous Course Code(s): MATH 551

Modeling and analytical solution methods of nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs). Topics include: derivation of conservation laws and constitutive equations, well-posedness, traveling wave solutions, method of characteristics, shocks and rarefaction solutions, weak solutions to hyperbolic equations, hyperbolic Systems, linear stability analysis, weakly nonlinear approximation, similarity methods, calculus of variations.

MATH 5460 Time Series Analysis [3 credit(s)]

Previous Course Code(s): MATH 546

Basic idea of time series analysis in both the time and frequency domains. Topics include: autocorrelation, partial ACF, Box and Jerkins ARIMA modeling, spectrum and periodogram, order selection, diagnostic and forecasting. Real life examples will be used throughout the course.

MECH 4350 Indoor Air Quality in Buildings [3 credit(s)]

Prerequisite(s): MECH 2310

Exclusion(s): IBTM 5430, JEVE 5350

Indoor air pollutants in buildings and their transport dynamics with respect to building ventilation systems. Design methodology in handling indoor air quality in buildings and enclosed spaces. Building environmental assessment method.

MECH 5210 Fluid Dynamics [3 credit(s)]

Previous Course Code(s): MECH 521

Exclusion(s): AESF 5210, MESF 5210

Background: MECH 2210

Tensor notation, derivation of Navier-Stokes equations, vorticity transport, viscous flow, flow separation, boundary layer, flow instability, turbulent boundary layer, stratified flow, rotating flow.

PHYS 5110 Mathematical Methods in Physics [4 credit(s)]

Previous Course Code(s): PHYS 511

Review of vector analysis; complex variable theory, Cauchy-Rieman conditions, complex Taylor and Laurent series, Cauchy integral formula and residue techniques, conformal mapping; Fourier series; Fourier and Laplace transforms; ordinary differential equations, Bessel functions; partial differential equations, wave and diffusion equations, Laplace, Helmholtz and Poisson's equations, transform techniques, Green's functions; integral equations, Fredholm equations, kernals; Rieman sheets, method of steepest descent; tensors, contravariant and covariant representations; group theory, matrix representations.

Graduate Teaching Assistant Training

PDEV 6800 Introduction to Teaching and Learning in Higher Education [0 credit(s)]

The course aims to equip all full-time research postgraduate (RPg) students with basic teaching skills before assuming teaching assistant duties for the department. Good teaching skills can be acquired through learning and practice. This 10-hour mandatory training course provides all graduate teaching assistants (GTA) with the necessary theoretical knowledge with practical opportunities to apply and build up their knowledge, skills and confidence in taking up their teaching duties. At the end of the course, GTAs should be able to (1) facilitate teaching in tutorials and laboratory settings; (2) provide meaningful feedback to their students; and (3) design an active learning environment to engage their students. Graded PP, P or F.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify fundamental theories and good practices in teaching and learning.
  • Design appropriate active learning activities to engage students.
  • Apply constructive alignment in designing a learning sequence.
  • Demonstrate teaching and facilitation skills in different teaching settings.
  • Formulate constructive feedback to assist students as they progress in their learning.

Professional Development Course

PDEV 6770 Professional Development for Research Postgraduate Students [1 credit(s)]

Exclusion(s): CHEM 6770, ENVS 6770, LIFS 6770, MATH 6770, PHYS 6770, BIEN 6770, CENG 6770, CIVL 6770, COMP 6770, ELEC 6770, ENGG 6770, EVNG 6770, IEDA 6770, MECH 6770, SBMT 6770, SHSS 6770, IDPO 6770, ENVR 6770

This course aims at equipping research postgraduate students with transferrable skills conducive to their professional development. Students are required to attend 3 hours of mandatory training on Professional Conduct, and complete 12 hours of workshops, at their own choice, under the themes of Communication Skills, Research Competency, Entrepreneurship, Self‐Management, and Career Development. Graded PP, P or F.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Critically analyze and evaluate ethical challenges and make value judgments on research ethics.
  • Develop a comprehensive set of essential transferable skills to enhance professional development.

ENVR 6770 Professional Development in Environmental Science, Policy and Management [1 credit(s)]

This one-credit course aims at providing research postgraduate students with basic training in research management, career development, and related professional skills. This course consists of a number of division-specific workshops. Graded PP, P or F.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Develop a comprehensive set of essential transferrable skills to enhance professional development in the discipline.
  • Recognize the major issues and updated development in the area of environment.

English Language Courses

LANG 5000 Foundation in Listening & Speaking for Postgraduate Students [1 credit(s)]

Previous Course Code(s): LANG 500

For students whose level of spoken English is lower than ELPA Level 4 (Speaking) when they enter the University. The course addresses the immediate linguistic needs of research postgraduate students for oral communication on campus using English. To complete the course, students are required to attain at least ELPA Level 4 (Speaking). Graded P or F.

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Use more accurate pronunciation and more appropriate features of connected speech for effective communication.
  • Express views about academic and social topics with more appropriate topic development and coherence.
  • Show progress in their skills in listening for features in English texts to improve their own development of speaking skills.

LANG 5080 English Seminar and Presentation Skills [3 credit(s)]

Corequisite(s): LANG 5000

This one-term course aims at enhancing the spoken English of research postgraduate students in Environmental Science, Policy and Management. The course focuses on developing appropriate English skills for participation in academic seminars and giving effective presentations of the students' own research. Students who fail to fulfill the spoken English language requirement of the University are advised to take LANG 5000 before enrolling for this course (for students admitted in 2009/10 and onward).

LANG 5081 Research Writing Skills [3 credit(s)]

Corequisite(s): LANG 5000

This one-semester course aims at enhancing the research writing skills of the research postgraduates in Environmental Science, Policy and Management to help them meet the specific demands of their academic work. It particularly focuses on developing students' abilities in writing a wide spectrum of research genres, including proposal abstracts, papers and theses. Students who fail to fulfill the spoken English language requirement of the University are advised to take LANG 5000 before enrolling for this course (for students admitted in 2009/10 and onward).

Postgraduate Seminar

ENVR 6010 Postgraduate Seminar [0 credit(s)]

Previous Course Code(s): ENVR 601, AMCE 601

Advanced seminar series presented by postgraduate students, faculty and guest speakers on selected topics in atmospheric environmental science or marine environmental science. This course is offered once a year. Graded P or F.

Thesis Research

ENVR 6990 MPhil Thesis Research [0 credit(s)]

Previous Course Code(s): ENVR 699, AMCE 699

Master's thesis research supervised by a faculty member. A successful defense of the thesis leads to the grade Pass. No course credit is assigned.

ENVR 7990 Doctoral Thesis Research [0 credit(s)]

Previous Course Code(s): ENVR 799, AMCE 799

Original and independent doctoral thesis research. A successful defense of the thesis leads to the grade Pass. No course credit is assigned.